BrainTrust Query: Passion Blurs Personal vs. Professional
Commentary by Joel Warady,
Principal, Joel Warady Group
I gave a talk the other day at Northwestern
University and, during the Q & A, someone asked me how one separates
their personal life from their professional life – this coming after I
had suggested that they allow their business contacts to connect with them
on Facebook. In response to the question of separation, I proceeded to
say that it is difficult, and that personal and professional have become
one in the same. I suggested that in today’s connected world, where we
are always in touch with one another, on multiple platforms with a plethora
of devices, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to disconnect from
one life and connect with another.
There were many people who disagreed with
this statement. When I subsequently mentioned it to friends over the weekend,
they too said that I was wrong. They informed me that when Friday rolls
around, their business life stops, and doesn’t start again until Monday.
They further suggested that the fact that I don’t separate my professional
life from my business life was my failing, and that I should structure
my life better.
Well, to paraphrase Ed Harris’ line in the
movie Apollo 13 (one of my favorites):
“With all due respect, what you see as my
biggest failing is actually what I see as my greatest success.”
in my opinion, all of the people who like to point out that all I do
is work and that I have no separation between my personal and professional
life don’t understand how I arrived at this point. I absolutely love
what I do and, for me, there is little difference between work and play.
When I work, I love what I’m learning; love what I’m achieving; love
what I’m accomplishing; love the challenge that work brings. My professional
life allows me to do what others only dream about, and who wouldn’t want
to live in a world where dreams come true?
What’s my point?
If you find work for which you have passion,
which you enjoy immensely and which you describe with love, it no
longer is really work. It is simply a great life. And you would never
want to separate yourself from a great life.
I’m fortunate. I formed
a life in which I can pursue my passion, and the idea of separating personal
from professional seems counter-intuitive. I can only suggest that you
seek to do the same for yourself: find work, which allows you to pursue
your passion. We are all capable; it is simply a matter of wanting it
badly enough, no matter what it is you do for a living.
Tell me if you think I’m unrealistic.
Questions: Has the arrival of social media challenged the traditional
separation between personal and work lives? What should guide the
decision to allow business contacts to connect through Facebook and
other social media tools that also reach friends and family? How
are you personally managing the blurred lines between personal and